Legal Terms

Legal Terms

Index of Family Law Legal Terms

Our family law glossary of legal terms aims to provide potential and current clients alike with a greater understanding of the legal terms involved in family law.

If you would like to speak to a family law attorney about a potential case, or simply require more information about a specific area of family law, feel free to contact us online or via telephone.

Divorce Glossary

  • Divorce - To formally end a marriage.
  • Petitioner - The party applying for the divorce.
  • Respondent - The party receiving the divorce.
  • Petition - The application to the court to end a marriage.
  • Statement Of Arrangements - The document that must accompany the petition to inform the court of arrangements for any children who are minors.
  • Certificate Of Reconciliation - The document a solicitor must file with the court, informing the court whether the petitioner has been advised about a reconciliation and whether they have been given the names of any counsellors.
  • Acknowledgement of Service - The document the respondent returns to the court when they have received the divorce petition.
  • Affidavit - A legal document sworn on oath.
  • Decree Nisi - The first court order regarding the divorce.
  • Decree Absolute - the final court order regarding the divorce and ending the marriage.

Finance Glossary

  • Ancillary Relief - The global term used to describe the financial claims the parties have against each other.
  • Form A - The application to the court for ancillary relief.
  • Form E - The financial statement that provides information about a party's finances.
  • Form H - The costs schedule that must be filed before a court hearing.
  • FDA - The first directions appointment.
  • FDR - The financial dispute resolution hearing.
  • Final Hearing - The court decides the financial settlement between the parties if matters have not been resolved.
  • The Former Matrimonial Home - The last family home where the parties lived together as husband and wife.
  • Periodical Payments - Regular maintenance payments from one party to the other.
  • Lump Sum Provision - A capital payment from one party to the other.
  • Property Adjustment/Transfer - A transfer of a property from one party to the other, most often being the former matrimonial home.
  • Pension Share - An order transferring part of one party's pension fund to the other.
  • Consent Order - An order setting out the financial settlement that the parties have agreed on.
  • Statement of Information - A summary of the party's finances. This must accompany a consent order to court.

Children's Glossary

  • Residence - Where a child lives.
  • Residence Order - A court order setting out where a child lives and with whom.
  • Contact - Visitation by a parent who does not have residence.
  • Contact Order - A court order setting out when the parent without residence will see a child.
  • Specific Issue Order - An order determining a specific issue, for example, where a child will go to school.
  • Prohibited Steps Order - An order preventing a party taking a particular action with a child.
  • Parental Responsibility - The rights, duties and obligations that a parent has toward their child and their child's property.
  • Parental Responsibility Agreement/Order - An agreement or court order conferring parental responsibility on one of a child's parents.

Miscellaneous Glossary

  • Judicial Separation - Legal separation of a married couple.
  • Decree of Judicial Separation - A decree of legal separation removing the duty to cohabit.
  • Civil Partnership - Same-sex marriage.
  • Dissolution - Divorce for civil partners.
  • Decree of Dissolution - A decree of divorce for civil partners.
  • Cohabitees - People who live together but are not married.
  • Cohabitation Agreement - An agreement between cohabitees regarding what will happen to their property and assets should their relationship break down.
  • Pre-nuptial Agreement - An agreement between people who are planning to marry, before the marriage, dealing with what will happen to their assets should their marriage break down.
  • Postnuptial Agreement - An agreement between people after their marriage, dealing with what will happen to their assets should their marriage break down.
  • Preregistration Agreement - An agreement between a same-sex couple who are planning to enter into a civil partnership, before the civil partnership, dealing with what will happen to their assets should their civil partnership break down.
  • Separation Agreement - An agreement between people who are going to be voluntarily separated dealing with what will happen on separation.
  • Resolution - The solicitors' family law association.
  • Nonmolestation Injunction - An order preventing a person from harassing, molesting or interfering with another.
  • Occupation Order - An order capable of forcing someone to leave a property, usually the former matrimonial home.
  • Joint Tenancy - This describes a property held in joint names, meaning the right of survivorship applies.
  • Tenancy in Common - A property is held in joint names but the right of survivorship does not apply.
  • Will - A legal document which allows people to leave their assets to beneficiaries of their choice.

If you would like to speak to a family law attorney about a potential case, or simply require more information about a specific area of family law, feel free to contact us online or via telephone.